A major contribution to abstract filmmaking, using stop-motion animation of unfired clay in various colors. The major influence would appear to be Oskar Fischinger’s Radio Dynamics, but this is an independent creation under the tutelage of Slavko Vorkapich, with also a certain relation to Alexander Calder.
The immortal creation sprang forth from Gumbasia (which is where he lives) and the toy films of Charles & Ray Eames, and stands as the most plastic base of surrealism in film: he dives high off a springboard into a pool and emerges from the ground nearby. “You dive too deep, Gumby,” says Pokey. And, of course, he goes to the moon.
Davey and Goliath
These furious entertainments from the Lutheran Church are a pretty fulsome test of Clokey’s art, and allow for some virtuosity: in an episode of forbidden skating on fresh ice, Goliath spins about balletically before Davey falls in and loses his new skates, thereby acquiring a useful piece of wisdom. In another, Davey is trapped inside a refrigerator car as the train begins to move. He is frightened, and pops his head out the top hatch, hoping to call someone. The train wheels say “all alone, all alone” the empty landscape goes by, and then a church, but he remembers that God is everywhere, and the train wheels say “everywhere, everywhere”. This is of course filmed with a model train, and the vertiginous confluence with Eames is a fresh delight.
The Clay Peacock
The Clay Peacock takes up where Gumbasia left off, and has a kinship with Tinguely and Dove in its abstractions, keyed to an incidental work for NBC involving the famous logo.
Stills and a written description are all this writer knows of this work, which must be the masterpiece of the clay animator’s repertoire, as it projects the nature of consciousness from clay beginnings to human form and beyond into spiritual realms. The sculpting is of a refinement not elsewhere seen.